Postpartum Update: Weeks 7 & 8

Hey there, friends! I decided not to do separate posts for weeks 7 and 8 because things aren’t really changing that rapidly anymore.

Physical Stuff
After my disappointing six week follow up appointment, I decided to just focus on what I CAN do, and have been hitting the yoga and walking hard. As you’ve likely seen on IG, I have sprinkled in some short spurts of running here and there, and so far, so good. I have also done a few planks and squats here and there as sort of a fitness test, and boy oh boy, am I weak. Even a thirty second plank on my elbows is HARD. I feel like I’ve lost all of the fitness I gained in the year of CrossFit prior to getting pregnant, which is a tough blow, but it is what it is. I got strong once before, and I can do it again.

On Monday the 27th, I had my follow up appointment to fix an area that healed incorrectly, and also had an IUD inserted at the same time. It was a super quick outpatient procedure. Thankfully, it was WAY less terrible than I thought, though it’s meant more bleeding and discomfort. The good news is, I wasn’t advised to discontinue physical activity, so I’ve been continuing with my return to running.

Now that I’m increasing my physical activity, it’s more important than ever to be adequately fueling my body, so we are back to meal planning once a week. I’m also doing some light meal prep for myself as well. I make a couple of batches of overnight oats every few days, and make sure that there’s some brown rice all cooked up in the fridge. That way I can add beans, corn, and veggies for an easy, healthy lunch if there aren’t any leftovers to heat up. I may do a post on my meal planning/prep in the future if anyone is interested.

Breastfeeding
I am still feeding Vera on demand, which is every two-ish hours during the day, and every three to four hours at night. I’m also pumping once or twice a day, getting four or five ounces at a time, so we’re getting a nice freezer stash together.

For the most part, nursing is pleasant. I sit in a comfy chair and hang out with my sweet baby, watching TV or reading blogs on my phone. But it can also feel really taxing. Nursing sessions take up to 40 minutes at a time, and when they happen every two hours, it can be hard to go anywhere or get anything done. Even managing to make myself food or use the bathroom between nursing, playing, and settling her for naps can be challenging. While I am intensely grateful that I am able to breastfeed my baby, it is far from easy.

Emotional Stuff
Ben went back to work this past Thursday, which was a huge transition for us. We both feel immensely lucky that the timing worked out so that he was able to be home with me and Vera for seven whole weeks, but having had him around for so long, I was worried about how I would handle everything on my own. There are lots of feelings to unpack, so I’m planning to do a separate post on the topic of being a stay at home mom. Stay tuned for that.

Wrapping it Up
The so-called “fourth trimester” extends until a woman is 12 weeks postpartum, but I don’t think I need to be doing weekly recaps anymore. I’m feeling mostly “normal” at this point. I may touch back on this subject again after my fourth trimester is over, but I’m not sure yet.

On the whole, I feel blessed that my postpartum journey has gone as well as it has. Most women don’t get to have their partners with them as long as I did, and some don’t even get a maternity leave all that long, while I get to stay home with Vera full time. Ben’s return to work has been a difficult transition, but I don’t really feel like I’ve suffered any “baby blues.” My body has been recovering well. I have a well-developed, close-knit support system. And I have a healthy, happy baby, and a loving, supportive partner who is an amazing co-parent.

Becoming a mother has been such a crazy trip. It’s simultaneously the hardest and easiest thing I’ve ever done. Even when I’m exhausted and really have to pee and Vera just won’t stop crying unless I bounce her vigorously, all I can think about is how much I love her and how happy I am to have her. Ben and I waited a long time to get pregnant because we knew the circumstances weren’t right. I’ve been aching to be a mother for years, and now Vera is finally here and we’re just so happy. I can’t wait to see where this journey takes us.

Anybody interested in a meal planning/prep post?

Advertisements

Postpartum Update: 6 Weeks

Hi, friends! This post is coming at you a bit late, but I wanted to wait to post it until after my six week follow up appointment with the midwives. Enjoy!

Physical Stuff
I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect at my six week appointment, as I’m definitely not feeling 100% healed up. Unfortunately, my gut instinct was right. I still have areas that are not fully healed, and had a bit of a complication crop up that requires additional attention. I’d rather not get too detailed, but suffice to say, I’m still not cleared for regular physical activity. This was definitely disappointing, but I’m trying to focus on what I CAN do versus what I can’t. Yoga and walking will continue to be my sole forms of exercise at the moment, and that’s better than nothing.

A few things I haven’t talked about recently are my hip and my carpal tunnel. Thankfully, my right hip went back to normal immediately after delivery; I haven’t had a single twinge of pain since V was born, which is wonderful. The carpal tunnel is still hanging on a bit, but it’s way less of an issue. The very tips of the fingers on my right hand are still numb, but everything else is operating as usual.

Sleep is slowly but surely getting better. We can get stretches of up to 4 hour between feedings at night, which feels downright luxurious, but I still have to get up 3 or 4 times a night depending on when we actually go to bed. We still don’t have any semblance of a schedule, but I’m thinking that when Ben goes back to work next week, our days will inevitably become more structured.

Breastfeeding
Ahead of Ben going back to work, I have been pumping a couple of times a day to have a backup stash of breast milk. We still haven’t figured out what our schedule will be, so I want to have extra just in case. Having a stash will also make eventual date nights possible.

We’re trying to stretch out the time between feedings, as during the day V eats as often as every hour, which is pretty taxing for me. It’s just the easiest baby placation method, and I think I’m too quick to offer the boob when she may not actually be hungry. Spacing things out a bit more will hopefully help me be a little less tied down during the day.

I’m still trying really hard to keep up a balanced diet and hydrate like a boss, as both are essential to successful milk supply. I’ve been drinking a lactation support tea every morning, and some friends who had a baby in April also sent along some lactation cookies, so I have one of those each morning as well. It’s tough to say if they’re actually helping my supply or not but they taste good, which is good enough for me.

img_6003

I’m finding that I have to be pretty careful not to have too many gas-inducing foods, or else we all end up paying for it. If I have a dinner with things like beans or broccoli, poor V wakes up crying with gas pains sometime around 3 am, and requires lots of soothing to get back to sleep. We tried some gas drops recently, which helped some, but she can still get cranky.

Emotional Stuff
I’m still feeling pretty anxious about Ben going back to work and me being on baby duty full time. Even the few afternoons where Ben has been outside doing yard work and I’ve been inside with V have been a bit taxing. I can’t always go to the bathroom or have a snack when I need it because V is hungry or crying. I have a hard time leaving her when she’s crying, even though she might be perfectly fine. My hat goes off to all the single parents and parents whose spouses have limited parental leave. I can’t imagine being the sole caretaker of an infant after only a week or two. I’ve been lucky enough to have 6+ weeks of help from Ben and I’m still feeling nervous to be on my own!

Thankfully, I have a really good support network. My in-laws live minutes away, and I have a fellow stay-at-home-mom friend who lives in the same town as we do, so I’m far from alone in this. I just keep reminding myself that I’ve always wanted to do this, I chose this, and I believe that overall, it will be fun and positive to stay home and raise our daughter.

Mamas out there, how long did it take before you were fully healed after delivery?

 

Postpartum Update: Weeks 4 & 5

Happy Wednesday! I missed the one month milestone last week, so here’s my update for weeks four and five postpartum.

Physical Stuff
Physical recovery is still going about as well as it could. Thankfully, the itchy stitch situation has abated somewhat. My midwife actually called to say that the results of my test for infection had been inconclusive and that I could take an antibiotic if I wanted to, but I could potentially resolve the situation at home with probiotics and just staying as clean and dry as possible. I chose that route, as I already had a shitload of antibiotics during labor due to my Group B Strep status, and I don’t really want to take more unless it’s absolutely necessary. I’ve been taking a few gulps of kefir every morning with breakfast and so far, so good.

My discomfort levels are continuing to decrease daily, but I’m definitely still a little sore around my stitches. I’m not really bleeding anymore, just dealing with occasional spotting. I’m hoping that this will continue so I can get to postnatal yoga next week. Other than recovery related stuff, I feel pretty good physically. I can handle normal tasks around the house, and Ben and I have been walking. Unfortunately it’s been super hot and humid lately so we haven’t gotten out as much as I’d like. I’m excited to (hopefully) be cleared for exercise at my six week follow up so I can work back up to running.

img_5969

I know my straps are funky. I know how to carry her safely. Thanks!

Sleep continues to be elusive. I know the wisdom is “sleep when baby sleeps,” but I think most moms know that’s kind of bullshit. When she’s napping, I’m eating, hydrating, using the bathroom, and trying to accomplish at least one non-baby related thing so I don’t feel like my entire world revolves around her. Also, I’m a terrible napper, so there’s that. Thankfully, we’ve reached the point where even though she’s still waking up every two hours during the night to feed, she generally goes right back to sleep after, which is a blessing.

Breastfeeding
We had our one month follow up with the Lactation Consultant, and she went over pumping with us. GAME. CHANGER. I can now pump bottles for Ben to give Vera, meaning I can occasionally sleep through a nighttime feeding, or leave the house for longer than 45 minutes. Ben is also super happy that he can now, in his words, “appease” her more easily, since he has the option to feed her. She has taken to the bottle with no issues, and while pumping basically feels like I’m milking myself, it’s not uncomfortable.

Emotional Stuff
I went into town ALL BY MYSELF, not once but TWICE during week five, woohoo! I was away from the house and Vera for a whole three hours. It was emotional and weird, but also really good for my mental well being. It was nice to feel like a normal person and just go do some errands like I would have pre-baby. And then hurry home for baby snuggles 🙂

img_5972

I went and got my nose pierced sans baby!

The next hurdle I need to get over is going somewhere with Vera WITHOUT Ben’s support. Thus far, I haven’t taken any car rides with her without Ben there to help. I’m hoping to take her to postnatal yoga this week so I can rip the band-aid off sooner rather than later. Ben goes back to work in less than two weeks, so I need to be okay taking Vera in the car with me.

I have to confess, I’m starting to feel some anxiety about Ben going back to work and being home alone with Vera. I’ve always hoped to be a stay at home mom, but I fully recognize that it will be very challenging. I need to start thinking now about ways to stay busy, get out of the house, and not become a shut-in.

Miscellaneous
We took our first “road trip” down to Quechee to visit my parents because my sister Haley was visiting from Michigan. We fully intended to do a straightforward there-and-back same day trip, but we were having so much fun and my family was so excited to have us there that we decided to stay overnight! We had everything we could have needed for Baby V, so we just pulled the proverbial trigger. The only thing I wish we had brought was the baby monitor, but otherwise it was smooth sailing.

 

It feels really good to have cleared these new parent hurdles relatively early in the game. If we let it go too long it would have been easy to build it up as a scarier event than it really was.

Any wisdom from fellow stay-at-home-moms to ease my worries?

Postpartum Update: 3 Weeks

Hello, friends! I hope you’re all having an excellent week so far. Here’s the latest in my postpartum updates.

Physical Stuff
I had a 2 week postpartum checkup about 18 days after giving birth. The midwife said that my stitches look good and are healing well, which was a relief. TMI alert, the stitches are really itchy right now, so I’ve been pretty uncomfortable for a few days, and was worried I might have an infection; I don’t, but it sucks regardless. They also took my weight, and in spite of my resolution NOT to look at the numbers on the scale from last week’s post, I couldn’t help myself. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I’ve lost 20 pounds already, leaving me with only 10 to go to get back to pre-baby weight. Again, I don’t want to place too much weight (pun intended!) on the numbers, but it was nice to see nonetheless. I’m definitely a lot squishier around the middle and I’ve lost a lot of muscle tone, but I know I can get it back when I’m ready.

The midwife approved me for easy walking, but I’m still not supposed to do any vigorous exercise. She warned against going too hard even though I might feel pretty good, and advised me to continue to think of this as a recovery period. Again, TMI alert, but sweating makes the itching worse, so I’ve been reluctant to get moving too much. She also said I’m allowed to go to postnatal yoga as soon as my bleeding stops, which I’m looking forward to. I’m still taking OTC pain meds a few times a day, but I’d say I’m dealing more with discomfort rather than pain at this point.

I’ve finally reached the stage where I’m feeling like wearing “real” clothes again versus just hanging out in a bathrobe or PJs all day. I can squeeze into plenty of pre-pregnancy bottoms, and I bought myself a bunch of new nursing tops to wear, since we are exclusively breastfeeding. It’s nice to actually get dressed, put on some jewelry, and be a normal person again. I’m planning to pack up my maternity clothes this week, which I’m actually pretty psyched about. I need the space in my closet/drawers.

img_5857

Pre-pregnancy leggings, yay!

Ben and I are both still pretty sleep-deprived, but it’s getting better every day. All I can say is, I’m glad neither of us are working right now. We still don’t have any kind of routine, but we’re managing to get about 6 hours of sleep each night in various chunks. It’s amazing what feels like “enough” sleep these days.

Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is still going well! I’m still a little sore when Vera first latches on, but otherwise it’s great. We feed on demand, which is usually every 2 or so hours, so I spend a lot of time sitting on my butt with a baby attached to me. As she gets older, feedings should space out more, which will allow me to do more. We will also be having a follow up visit with the lactation consultant this coming week to go over pumping, milk storage, and stuff like that, which will mean that Ben can help out with some feedings, allowing me more freedom. Yay!

Emotional Stuff
My hormones seem to be equalizing a bit, although I’m definitely still more weepy than usual. I don’t have “baby blues” or anything like that, I just feel things more strongly. We watched Coco on Saturday and I spent most of it crying, haha! So far I’ve been adjusting to motherhood well. Being sleep deprived is hard, and being so home bound is hard, but it’s all worth it when I look at her sweet face. The love I have for this little baby is hard to describe. Even when she wakes me up crying for the umpteenth time a night, I only want to love her and help her. Motherhood is a trip, ya’ll.

Miscellaneous
Ben and I are emerging from the “newborn bubble” a bit, which is nice. We’ve had friends over, we’ve gone to friends’ houses, we went to a free play group at my yoga studio, and we even went out to breakfast, which felt like such an accomplishment! As I said in my Weekend Update post, we’ve realized that we need to be leaving the house more for our mental health.

In order to get out more, I purchased a set of disc golf discs. I know, Vermont hippie much? Anyway, Ben already had a set, so with my discs, we can now plop Vera in her baby tent while we throw discs at made up “holes” around our yard. Vera loves being outside as much as we do, and it’s so good for our brains and bodies to see outside once in a while!

Mamas out there, did you experience itchy stitches? Any tips for relieving discomfort?